(Ferguson, MO) – Ferguson residents headed to the polls on Tuesday, April 7, 2015 and elected three new City Council members.
The election drew a 30-percent voter turnout, more than double the typical turnout for an April election from the 12,738 registered voters in the City of Ferguson. Those voters elected two African-American candidates, giving the City Council three African-American members for the first time in its 120-year history.
“This election is an example of how residents of the City of Ferguson can make their voices heard in the electoral process,” Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III said. “I’m looking forward to working with our new Council members and moving forward with rebuilding and regaining the trust of our constituents.”
In Ward One, a race between four candidates, Ella Jones earned just over half of the votes to win the seat. Jones, a 60-year-old African-American, earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Recently retired from a 29-year entrepreneurial career, the former sales director at Mary Kay Inc. serves on Ferguson’s Human Rights Commission. Jones’ priorities as a member of the City Council are to promote open communication between the residents and City Hall; develop partnerships for neighborhood activities and local economic development; and continue expansion of neighborhood watch and beautification programs.
Wesley Bell, a 40-year-old African-American, gained just over two-thirds of the votes to win in Ward Three. A graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, Bell is an attorney, college professor and municipal judge with experience in governmental operations and the criminal justice system as well as an understanding of the law. As a Ferguson City Council member, Bell vows to lead a regional effort to restructure the municipal courts in Ferguson and St. Louis County, and he seeks to bring community-oriented policing, revitalization, and economic and neighborhood development to Ferguson.
Brian Fletcher was the third member elected to the City Council on Tuesday, gaining just over 57 percent of the votes to win the seat in Ward Two. A 28-year politician and former mayor of Ferguson, Fletcher, 55, is Chairman of the “I Love Ferguson” campaign, which donated more than $100,000 to businesses damaged during the unrest. Fletcher, who is retired from AT&T, also served on Ferguson’s 4th of July committee and pension board, as well as the Ferguson-Florissant School Board, and he hopes to bring a sense of stabilization to Ferguson.
“I’m grateful to the residents that turned out in massive numbers to make history for the City of Ferguson,” Councilman Dwayne James said. “This historic opportunity gives the city a chance to reflect the true diversity of the community.”